6th person struck by new Brightline train in Florida

WILTON MANORS, FLA. (WSVN) - - Rescue crews took a man to the hospital after, officials said, he was struck by a Brightline train in Wilton Manors and pinned underneath it.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue units responded to the scene, near Northeast 12th Avenue and 24th Street, Thursday evening.

“We received a call earlier this evening for a pedestrian that had been struck by the train,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan.

When crews arrived, they found the victim alive.

“The patient was lying in the middle of the tracks, still underneath the train,” said Gollan. “He was asking for help, talking, communicating with the crews that were there.”

Crews removed the man from under the train and transported to Broward Health Medical Center with a broken arm. He is expected to be OK.

The southbound train, which was heading to Fort Lauderdale from West Palm Beach, had slowed down, according to firefighters.

At first, passengers said, they were told there was a problem with the gates.

A woman on board the train said they were later notified about the crash.

“The train came to a stop, and they said, ‘It wasn’t a problem with the gates. We actually had a collision,'” she said.

Witnesses said the pedestrian appeared to be in his 50s.

Local businessman Joe O’Gorman said Brightline needs to do a better job of making others aware of the train.

“How many people know that a train is going through here 79 miles an hour?” he said. “You gotta have lighted signs. You gotta say there’s a high-speed rail going through here. Something like ‘Stop,’ ‘Beware,’ ‘Get back.’ You know, really warn ’em.”

He is the sixth person hit by a Brightline train since the rail line began testing last year. Four of those accidents were fatal.

When asked whether the gates are not enough of a safety measure to prevent pedestrian crashes, an onlooker said,

“No, definitely not. These gates are for the freight trains, for old-school [trains]. This thing is flying through here.”

Just after 10 p.m., police began wrapping up their investigation at the scene.

Investigators said they were able to acquire surveillance video from a nearby business. The footage, they said, shows a man who appeared to be walking on the tracks.

Officials said the video shows the train had slowed down before the pedestrian was hit. Whether it slowed down because the engineer spotted the pedestrian remains unclear.

Brightline released a statement that read:

“Based on witness reports, this was an intentional act by an individual who laid on the tracks before the train approached. We appreciate the work of our team and first responders who acted quickly to remove him safely.”

They also go on to say that 88 percent of all crashes involving people are due to trespassers.

Investigators said they will speak to the victim to determine what led to the crash.

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